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Rural Health Information Hub

Recruiting Participants

Successful diabetes prevention and management programs must consider the best ways to maximize program participation. Recruitment refers to the process of conducting outreach to inform potential participants about the program. Some best practices for recruiting diabetes program participants are to identify priority populations, target outreach efforts, identify champions, work with community partners, and encourage referrals.

Identify Priority Populations

To recruit and retain participants, rural programs should identify priority populations, those who have the greatest need for diabetes prevention and management efforts. To define the priority population, programs can consider population differences by gender, age, income, culture, and geography.

Target Outreach Efforts

After identifying priority populations, rural programs should choose outreach efforts. Successful diabetes programs use multiple outreach methods. Outreach should be contextually and culturally appropriate so participants feel comfortable from their initial encounter with the program.

Outreach materials – Programs should tailor outreach materials to grab the attention of the priority population. Program materials should be easy to read and culturally appropriate. Examples of outreach materials for diabetes programs include:

  • Print media
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Word-of-mouth (provider and participant referrals)
  • Internet and social media

Outreach venues – The location of outreach materials should vary based on the priority population. Examples of outreach venues include:

  • Clinics
  • Community health centers
  • Pharmacies
  • Recreation centers
  • Local businesses
  • Schools
  • Faith-based centers

Identify Program Champions

A program champion can help recruit and retain participants. The National Diabetes Prevention Program developed the Program Champion Strategy to support recruitment and outreach. Program champions can:

  • Help new participants sign up for the program
  • Encourage participation in program events
  • Promote the program in the community
  • Expand outreach efforts
  • Serve as role models

Encourage Referrals

In rural communities, healthcare providers, pharmacists, and others can refer eligible patients to the diabetes program. Successful rural diabetes programs establish relationships and share information about the program with these providers to encourage referrals.

Resources to Learn More

Program Champion Strategy Toolkit
Provides information, strategies, and resources demonstrating how program champions support recruitment and enrollment of new participants with diabetes. Includes resources for program staff on the champion strategy process and on recruiting and training program champions. Also offers guidance materials and talking points for program champions.
Organization(s): National Diabetes Prevention Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)